Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee
This is Catholic Schools Week and I will proudly celebrate Mass at a number of our Catholic Schools. This year I have some experiential reflections on Catholic education. This last week I was in Washington, D.C. for the annual March for Life. Well over half of all the participants were 25 and under; many from Catholic schools. What a rich contribution Catholic schools have made to the understanding of who we are as believing Catholics and what we should be as a nation.
This was Catholic education in action. Many of the schools began this pilgrimage with Mass and prayer and they ended with Mass and prayer.
We may have our critics; those who would like to see Catholic education go the way of the buffalo. But, believe me, we would be an impoverished nation without the continued contribution of Catholic schools.
These students were not ideologues looking for a victory for a single issue. They are young people who “get it” when their adult counterparts are still caught in a malaise of ambiguity. These are the young who will volunteer at soup kitchens to feed the poor, staff homeless shelters or tutor the underprivileged. They believe in life and are willing to sacrifice for it.
A striking comment was made by the homilist who was addressing some 28,000 youth at a Mass in the Verizon Center. He stated that the majority of those present, were born without the right to life. This is intolerable for the believer who knows that all are made in the image and likeness of God.
There was no violence, no shouting of threats, just over 450,000 people who were willing to brave the cold and witness for the sanctity of life. They came with backpacks and suitcases, on buses, in cars and on planes. They offered their time and used their money just to be there with others and experience the energy of witnessing for life—for Christ.
If I were a politician, you bet I would have taken notice, because a silent revolution is taking place. These young people will be voters of the future and they will not be denied. Catholic schools are a big part of the formation of our young.
You may be sick of me talking about the three priorities I have as archbishop: Catholic identity, evangelization and stewardship. Our Catholic schools are models for carrying out those priorities.
This last weekend our students lived Catholic identity in witnessing their faith. They evangelized by offering hope to those so discouraged by the lack of societal and governmental support for the issue of life and they practiced stewardship by using their resources of time, talent and treasure wisely to further the gospel of life.
Our Catholic Schools Office led by Dr. Kathleen Cepelka, our pastors, principals, teachers, staff and parents are creating an environment which is serving our Church and our nation. We Catholics of the Archdiocese can take pride in our schools.
There are true heroes among us and I walked with a number of them last Friday. Many were from our Catholic schools. They were learning to be saints by following Jesus’ command to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
Note: This blog originally appeared as the January 29, 2013 "Love One Another" email sent to Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Milwaukee by Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki. If you are interested in signing up for these email messages, please click here.